There is plenty of hockey for those who want to arrive on campus when they choose and have a spot waiting for them. It's called ACHA club hockey.
You can play in any conference without playing in juniors, but like most conferences the majority of players playing in the Northeast 10 played juniors.
If the consensus is that you have to play Jr hockey and USHL is the holy grail to get into NCAA why do people pay for these Tier 3 leagues if they all lead to nowhere?
I look at it another way. It is a very different sport. Not a lot of true freshman play or have success in NCAA D1 football. Most redshirt, then backup then maybe start as a sophomore or a junior at best. Majority barely play.
There are 2,000,000 (approx) registered U20 hockey players in the world competing for:
say 30 kids per team that means a total of 1,800 spots
A 4 year cycle of Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior so 450 spots per year
If you take the 2,000,000 kids playing hockey and say break it over a 15 year age span (5-20) that gives you 133,333 kids at a given birth year playing Hockey.
So you have 133,333 kids competing for the 450 spots. But you also have to break it down to 18, 19, 20 year olds so that is about 399,999 kids competing for 450 spots.
Where as in football you have 5,000,000 kids competing for:
130 Division 1 teams (more than double).
Rosters are an average of 105 kids means 13,650 kids playing D1 Football
A 4 year cycle of Freshman, etc, etc means 3,412 spots open per year
So if you take the same math for kids playing football and break it over a 13 year age span (5-18) that gives you 384,615 kids at a given birth year playing football.
So you have 384,614 kids competing for 3,412 spots.
I know most of you stopped following this but even if you only count the 1 year for hockey players say 18 so 133,333 kids competing for 450 spots that's a percentage of .33%.
With football you have 384,614 kids competing for 3,412 spots making it a percentage of .88%.
Almost triple the odds of playing D1 college football than D1 College hockey at a freshman age.
The point of all of this is that the amount of spots open per kid competing for them dictates that allowance of further development for hockey players. It's just simple math.
Freshman on D1 rosters for the upcoming season if the historic numbers hold true:
In addition if you actually look at some football rosters the AVERAGE AGE of a player on Alabama is 23, Arizona Sate: 24.8, Utah State 24.7.
Hockey is not all that different. All the hysteria of 21 year old freshmen never gets back to the fact that the average age is still basically one year after HS graduation which is similar to other sports.
Also your point on freshmen not playing is nonsense. Most do play. You can't compete if freshmen can't play, espeically now with so many juniors leaving early for professional. The ones who don't play are usually so-jr-sr that have peaked/don't progress and just don't contribute enough.
Who said Freshman don't play?
Uh, you did.
I actually said a lot of Freshman football players don't play as true freshman didn't say anything about hockey freshman
"...but know why Club Hockey has exploded over the last 5-10 years."
Hmmm, let's see The kid gets to pick the university first and hockey second; the sport is offered in hundreds of schools coast-to-coast - you can play at a southern school and get out of this god forsaken weather; the kid can slide right onto a team after his senior high school season at 18-19; practice schedule which is a couple days a week instead of 5-6; academics can come first, you can miss practice; you play in the same barn as the varsity kids; at least compared to many D-3 programs the club teams might have more fans (compare schools like Georgia or Alabama Club team attendance to any D-3 program in the country)' yeah Club hockey isn't great but go watch a D-3 game and you tell me. . . yeah I'd say I can see how this is going.
No I run a local junior team and we love to declare our kids make hundreds of college teams and this has to include club teams. . . which are elite.